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Werner Herzog is one of my all time favourite directors. Ever since watching his take on Nosferatu, I knew I was hooked. Exploring both his fictional and documentary films, you will find a fascinating body of work. Sure, some of his opinions I really don’t agree with (I’m talking about you, Into the Abyss and Death Row) but whether you agree with the content or not, a film with Herzog’s name on it will at least touch you in one way.
The British Film Institute recently released a 10 disc box set of some of Herzog’s films. Over the coming weeks (and maybe months) I will be going through each disc. Part review. Part retrospective. Hopefully you will join me on my Herzogian journey.
Whether you are a fan of Herzog or a newcomer to his work, I hope you at least get something out of this. »
- Mondo Squallido
A Nightmare on Elm Street was such a fun and entertaining horror movie. The amazing concept of a monstrous character who haunts and kills teenagers in their dreams has scared audiences for years! I don't know why, but this is a movie that never really scared me, even though I saw it at such a young age. I might have been 9 or 10 when I first saw it, and I thought it was the coolest horror flick ever. It holds a special place in my heart. This is one of the horror movies that I enjoy revisiting during the Halloween season, and I've put together a list of 20 fun facts about the movie that you might not know.
The first time Robert Englund put on the iconic Freddy glove, he cut himself.Johnny Depp went with his friend Jackie Earle Haley who was auditioning for the film. Depp was spotted by director Wes Craven, »
- Joey Paur
Directed by Wes Craven
Written by Wes Craven
Wes Craven intended Nightmare to be an exploration of surreal horror as opposed to just another stalk-and-slash horror movie, and not only did Nightmare offer a wildly imaginative, inspired concept, but it was a solid commercial genre entry for the dating crowd. Elm Street was New Line’s first genuine mainstream cinematic venture (after Alone In The Dark), and made the company a huge pile of money. The film was shot in 30 days at a cost of roughly $1.8 million, but it made back its figure and then some on opening weekend. New Line Cinema was saved from bankruptcy by the success of the film, and was jokingly nicknamed “the house that Freddy built.” Perhaps the most influential horror film of the ’80s, Craven’s 1984 slasher about a quartet of high school kids terrorized in their dreams »
Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name returns for another fistful of spaghetti Western action, hooking up with Lee Van Cleef's rival bounty hunter to track down a sadistic killer. Yup, with anti-heroes as dry and unforgiving as the desert, maniacally laughing villains (including Klaus Kinski), and expertly conducted gunplay, it's another great blast from Serge Leone's West. As ever, Ennio Morricone's score is one of the key characters - especially the haunting tune that emerges from the villain's music box. »
At a loss for what to watch this week? From new DVDs and Blu-rays, to what's streaming on Netflix, we've got you covered.
New on DVD and Blu-ray
Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen star as a married couple living in a nice suburban neighborhood with their new baby. When a fraternity moves in next door, the Radners struggle with feeling terrible uncool and also having their lives wrecked by a bunch of hard-partying bros. Zac Efron co-stars as Teddy, the head of the frat, with Dave Franco as his right-hand man.
"Halloween: The Complete Collection"
Do you need this 15-disc Blu-ray box set comprised of all of the "Halloween" movies, including the producer's cut of "Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers," Rob Zombie's 2007 and 2009 versions, audio commentary, and lots more? "Need" is such a childish word. You won't literally die if you didn't manage to order »
- Jenni Miller
He has convinced the Us film and TV worlds of his acting chops, but how would the austere German documentarian fare in New Tricks, EastEnders or Cuckoo?
Werner Herzog: Facts do not constitute truth
Its becoming increasingly obvious that this is really Werner Herzogs cold, uncaring universe, and we just live in it. Germanys greatest living documentarian, feature film-maker and former Klaus Kinski wrangler has parlayed his cult auteur status into some juicy acting gigs. In 2012, he starred as remorseless Soviet gulag survivor and below-average finger painter the Zec opposite Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher. Now the Zecs headed for Parks and Recreation, with Herzog confirming in a recent Q&A that he has filmed a rambling cameo for the administrative sitcoms final season. Ive never seen the show, he said, but I hope they kept some of it. Having convinced the worlds of Us film and TV to kneel before him, »
- Graeme Virtue
Here we are at what is a surprisingly modern list. At the beginning of this, I didn’t expect to see so much cultural impact coming from films so recently made, but that’s the way it goes. The films that define the horror genre aren’t necessarily the scariest or the most expensive or even the best. The films that define the genre point to a movement – movies that changed the game and influenced all the films after it. Movies that transcend the horror genre. Movies that broke the mold and changed the way horror can be created.
10. El laberinto del fauno (2006)
English Language Title: Pan’s Labyrinth
Directed by: Gullermo del Toro
It’s more a dark fantasy film than a horror film, but it would be tough to make a list of 50 of those. Plus, it has enough graphic, nightmarish images to push it over the threshold. »
- Joshua Gaul
Attention, New Yorkers! Starting tonight in the lovely borough of Brooklyn, Nitehawk Cinema kicks off a month-long series highlighting five of the “new classics” that now proudly sit among other classic films of the vampire genre.
George Romero’s angst-ridden dark horror comedy Martin is first up tonight at 9:30 Pm Et, and actor John Amplas will be in attendance! Our old friend Sam Zimmerman from Fangoria will also provide the introduction.
Be sure to check out the official press release below to find out the other films playing (one of which has arguably the best makeup sequence of Dick Smith’s legendary career in a scene featuring David Bowie). Hope to see you there tonight and all this month!
For more info check out Nitehawk's August Midnite: Bite This! website.
From the Press Release
With appearances on film now spanning over a century, the vampire is the most fictionalized »
- Drew Tinnin
While Klaus Kinski is not the star of Zapata-themed spaghetti western A Bullet for the General, screening as part of Anthology Film Archives' Kinski retrospective, his performance as religious zealot El Santo stands out in his prolific filmography.
Unlike the sadistic killers Kinski played in Westerns like For a Few Dollars More and The Great Silence, Kinski's character personifies the Zapata subgenre's typical mistrust of revolutionary idealism. But unfortunately, as this is a cynical conversion narrative, Santo, a devout believer in class warfare (he rants about serving God by killing the rich), doesn't receive the most screen time. Instead, the focus is on baby-faced American assassin Bill Tate (Lou Castel), who joins up with the outlaws and gets bandit »
Dolls can be scary as hell. My family has had a creepy-ass doll lying arounds for years, and we use that thing to scare the living shit out of each other. We will hide it in places where the victim would least suspect it. We've gotten some good scares and hilarious laughs with that thing. It's terrifying! I passed by that doll in the garage today and it inspired me to write up a top 10 list of creepiest dolls in movies.
This jacked-up tricycle-riding doll is a very bad premonition. This is something you'd never want to come across for real because it means pain is coming. It offers the person watching it nothing but bad news. Even though the doll is never actually referred to as Billy in the movies, it was reportedly known behind the scenes as the Billy Doll.
Fats the ventriloquist dummy(Magic)
- Joey Paur
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is a film about apes. The title isn't misleading or a metaphor or anything. This is a movie about primates and though there are human protagonists sharing screentime and functioning as significant pieces in the plot, it's very much an ape affair. Key characters - Caesar, Cornelia, Koba - are all chimpanzees.
Actually, that's not completely true. In fact it's a damn dirty ape lie for Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is a work of great deception. This fresh bestial blockbuster employs the most state-of-art moviemaking technology to achieve its trickery, ironically bringing the primitive world to visceral life on screen by using the most advanced techniques available.
The truth about those convincing, hyper-real chimpanzees? Caesar is played by Andy Serkis, »
The year is 1998 and Werner Herzog is one of few filmmakers who possess an aura. Not tabloid longevity, but the true beatification that comes with being a small-town Bavarian who ended up surviving not only postwar Germany but Central African prisons, Peruvian arrows, Klaus Kinski, pilgrimages across Europe and forty years in the film industry. His struggles are sometimes self-imposed but always Promethean; his vision, personal, strange and poetic. And his fans: devotional. Herzog doesn't do much to discourage the following...which is why Herzog, I and his assistant director, Herbert Golder, were laughing when we read the fortune opened by the holy man at a restaurant not far from Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope building, where Herzog was doing some work. "A modest man never talks of himself," it said. It was already too late.>> - Susan Gerhard »
Werner Herzog's Stroszek is exactly what you'd expect from the eccentric filmmaker, which is to say it's somewhat inexplicable, entrancing, honest and leaves us scratching our heads for meaning as much as it all seems crystal clear. I've seen it referred to as a comedy and I guess if you consider the premise it does sound like one of those "a rabbi, a priest and a minister walk into a bar" jokes, but therein lies the mystery of Herzog, a man that will take a mildly retarded ex-con, a prostitute and an elderly German man and offer a scenario wherein the trio pack up, leave Germany and make a new home in Wisconsin. Makes perfect sense... rightc The film's origins are as wild, if not more so, than the premise. Herzog originally intended to cast his lead actor, Bruno S. (The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser), in Woyzeck only to »
- Brad Brevet
(This review pertains to the BFI UK Blu-ray release on Region 2 format)
By Paul Risker
When François Truffaut ordained Werner Herzog, “The most important filmmaker alive” wisdom would have suggested that there was not one film within his body of work to stand out as his most important. Only a body of work threaded together with consistency; a combination of great filmic works would warrant such a claim.
Following the infliction of National Socialism on the German artistic tradition and consciousness, Nosferatu the Vampyre is Werner Herzog reaching into the past to reconnect with his true cinematic roots. The film that he looked to was not only a masterpiece of German Expressionism, but more broadly of cinema – F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu. If Truffaut ordained Werner Herzog to be “The most important filmmaker alive” then Nosferatu the Vampyre is the arguably the filmmaker’s most important for this single reason.
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
(This review pertains to the limited edition Region 2 UK release from the BFI)
By Paul Risker
If the BFI have the final word this summer, it will be remembered as the summer of Herzog, as they align themselves with the German filmmaker and journey headlong into his cinematic world. This rendezvous starts with a descent into the past with two distinct forms of horror - the hallucinatory horror of human obsession in Aguirre, Wrath of God and the genre horror Nosferatu.
Aguirre, Wrath of God represents an important entry in Herzog's career, and by coupling it with his 1971 feature documentary Fata Morgana, this release highlights the spatial thread that runs through his cinema. From the jungle, the desert, Antarctica »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
In discovering Bruno S., Werner Herzog found exactly the kind of actor he needs, someone who doesn't necessarily "act" in a role, but someone that more-or-less is the character he/she was hired to portray. In this case, the story of Bruno S. (full name Bruno Schleinstein) holds eerie similarities to the title character in The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, a 19th century Germany-set story of a man who was locked away in a dungeon for the first 17 years or so of his life only to one day be found in a small town square outside Nuremberg, alone and holding only an anonymous letter. The film is based on a true story, though Herzog holds little allegiance to reality as he cast Bruno (as I'll refer to him throughout the rest of this review), a man in his forties portraying what history would tell us is only a boy in his late teens. »
- Brad Brevet
Generally, The Playlist offices don't care much for sports, but there are definitely more than a few of us watching the World Cup. And it has been a helluva tournament so far, with defending champions Spain out of the contest already, along with England, who just couldn't get it together. So for all of you in the U.K. mourning your early exit from the World Cup, here's a little cinephile treat. Back in 1982, ITV focused an entire episode of "The South Bank Show" to Werner Herzog, and as usual, you should probably watch it. Across 60 minutes, it jumps around with the director, highlighting his films to date, talking with him about his work with Klaus Kinski, showing him reading dramatically on a train and ... talking about soccer. In fact, you'll see Herzog play soccer, as he talks about his fave English footballer Glenn Hoddle. We wonder what he thinks of English football now? »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Wow. Just a month in and this regular post dedicated to the - shall we say - more idiosyncratic, less delicate of movies (or shall we just say “gory horrors and not-quite-b-movies”) has the splendid fortune of getting to review Stuart Gordon’s tongue-in-cheek classic, Re-Animator.
Produced by Brian Yuzna, the warped individual behind the brutal class satire/mutant cannibalism jaunt Society, and starring that rubber-faced icon of the midnight movie, Jeffrey Combs, this remains one of the crowning glories of 80s cult film-making. Re-Animator's essentially an outlandish, sillier take on Hp Lovecraft’s spin on the Frankenstein mad-scientist story, and Combs, who you’ll undoubtedly know from such box-office juggernauts as Doctor Mordrid and Cellar Dweller (reviewed here next month), plays brilliant-if-misguided medical student Herbert West. »
I believe there's a hint as to what we're supposed to take out of Werner Herzog introduces Cobra Verde in the speed with which he introduces the film's central character, Francisco Manoel da Silva (Klaus Kinski), a ruined Brazilian rancher-turned-bandit who eventually finds himself at the center of the slave trade between Africa and South America. We never get to know Francisco the rancher, instead we first see him rumbling down a muddy hill, where he works for a gold mining company, and has just learned his wages have gone straight to the bank. That night he kills his boss, the scene cuts to black, next we meet the man Francisco has become, the feared bandit known as Cobra Verde (Green Snake). Cold, fearless and without sympathy, da Silva's travels eventually find him in the favor of Don Octavio Coutinho (Jose Lewgoy), who hires da Silva to oversea his sugar »
- Brad Brevet
Josh Stolberg's directorial effort Crawlspace makes its premiere on Hulu Plus on Thursday, June 5th. Stolberg previously penned Piranha 3D and Sorority Row. The film went into production in early 2012 under the title Hideaway before it was retitled to its current moniker. You won't find the ghost of Klaus Kinski lurking in the vents of this thriller; this film's cast includes Steve Weber, Jonathan Silverman, Lori Loughlin, Nicole Moore and Sterling Beaumon.
- Ryan Turek
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